B&H Dairy is apparently one of the few kosher dairy restaurants left in New York City, and after more than 65 years in business, it’s still attracting plenty of customers. I made my way there after work last week, even though I was still insanely stuffed from my late lunch.
I felt like I walked into one of those scary and depressing diners from a movie. You know, the quiet, old diner in the middle of a desert that people go to after they leave their car at the scary gas station nearby. B&H Dairy was a lot smaller, though. The sliver of a room had one long counter with stools and some rectangular cocktail tables along the wall directly behind the stools. The restaurant was pretty full – and very quiet – and once I squeezed myself into one of the counter seats, I had to get used to the arriving and departing customers brushing up against me.
The steaming cup of fluorescent pink Vegetarian Borscht ($4.25 cup, $4.50 bowl) was placed in front of me immediately after I ordered it. It looked like the meaty version at Veselka, but, instead of meat, it had a mix of beets, beans, bay leaves, cabbage, potato chunks, dill, and carrots. I was expecting a depressing experience like the first time I had borscht, especially with the depressing ambience, but I was pleasantly surprised. B&H Dairy’s borscht was sweeter and less vinegary, which made this the winning borscht for me, but I can also see the sweetness becoming a bit overwhelming. I’d be happier skipping the soup and eating a whole loaf of the restaurant’s homemade sweet Challah bread.
I think I can now confidently declare that borscht is one of my least favorite soups, and, sadly, I think the color is a tiny part of the problem. Borscht virgins should first try it before declaring the same thing. I did see a woman scraping the bottom of her own cup. :oD
127 Second Avenue (near St. Mark’s)
New York, NY 10003